State pulls together to keep our frontline workers safe


The Daily Telegraph today launches a campaign to support the state's frontline health workers - our last line of defence in the war on ­coronavirus.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was time for "a bit of human compassion" for doctors and nurses and urged Australians to take practical measures.

"In days gone by everybody knew if you had a nurse or doctor you knew working at the local hospital and something big happened you'd offer to cook meals, look after the kids, walk the dog, take the kids to school.

"This war is potentially so challenging for health staff that we need the community to back them in every imaginable way while following distancing rules," Mr Hazzard said.

The Telegraph is also calling for free parking for frontline health workers on the job and temporary accommodation where they would prefer not to return home after marathon shifts for fear of infecting family members.

Another proposal is for local councils to waive parking fines for health workers at their place of work during the crisis.

Police Minister David Elliott called for support for police officers on the frontline of managing isolation restrictions, revealing they were receiving terrible abuse for carrying out their orders.

"If you know a police ­officer please send them a text to say simply thank you - if you live near one please take out their garbage if you can," he said.

It comes against a backdrop of a desperate need for a steady, reliable supply of personal protective equipment for frontline workers, a key factor in the response that every health expert raised as a concern.

It can be revealed Premier Gladys Berejiklian has tasked jobs minister Stuart Ayres with finding local manufacturers to fill global supply gaps for medical equipment and hygiene products.

The premier will announce the call-out to locals this morning.

"This is a call to arms for NSW manufacturers to look at ways to convert production lines into making items we so desperately need," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We have the ability within NSW to meet our local demand and the government is moving to help manufacturers retool quickly to achieve this."

They will specifically target PPE (personal protective equipment) and sanitising products with major supply issues feared in the next year.

Former AMA president and former independent MP Kerryn Phelps said a reliable supply of PPE was critical, and was a "source of anxiety for doctors".

"We need to protect everyone. The very least we can do is have the world's best PPE," she said.

Dr Phelps said frontline healthcare workers also desperately wanted to see everyone in their community observing physical distancing and hygiene advice to reduce the caseload.

"There is nothing more distressing for doctors leaving frontline shifts then driving home seeing people not follow the recommendations," she said.

Regional areas have their own unique concerns, with a need to free up defence and private plane and helicopter pilots to evacuate country patients to larger towns or city hospitals.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the ability to evacuate patients from the regions was critical and he saw a role for defence in that.

This is your opportunity to send support to the frontline workers who are doing all they can to keep us safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Scroll down to leave your message.

As the world adapts to a new way of living while facing unprecedented restrictions, there's one thing that has remained the same - the unwavering dedication and commitment of our healthcare workers.

Now, it's time for us to say thanks.

Throughout the constant uncertainty while fighting the coronavirus, doctors, nurses, pathologists, direct care staff, cleaners, security and many more people across Victoria are risking their lives daily to keep us safe during the outbreak.

To express your appreciation and salute our care workers as they battle difficult conditions on the frontline to halt the COVID-19 spread, leave your message of support, thanks and appreciation in comments below.

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